Review (Kid+1): The Wizard of Oz (Ross Petty Productions)

The Wizard of Oz - Ross PettyAn annual holiday tradition, Ross Petty Productions’ panto takes the stage in Toronto

This year’s Ross Petty holiday production at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre is a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, and it does not disappoint, thanks to the endearing characters, brightly coloured costumes and set, and jabs at politicians. We’re happily taken along the yellow brick road, while we watch Dorothy (spirited Camille Eanga-Selenge) make the world a better place.

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Review: If on a Christmas Night (DopoLavoro Teatrale/Villa Charities/The Columbus Centre)

Photo of Vincent Leblanc-Beaudoin, Rory de Brouwer, Raylene Turner, Danya Buonastella, and Franco Berti provided by the companyExperience an immersive theatre celebration of Christmas through the lens of Italian culture in Toronto

For the second year in a row DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT), one of Toronto’s leading immersive theatre companies, has created a Christmas-themed show. Following last year’s An Italian Christmas Carol, a reimagining of the Dickens story performed for a solo audience member, the company is presenting If on a Christmas Night, an immersive theatre experience designed for a larger audience, written and directed by DLT’s Artistic Director, Daniele Bartolini. Continue reading Review: If on a Christmas Night (DopoLavoro Teatrale/Villa Charities/The Columbus Centre)

The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre)

Holiday Improv arrives on the Toronto stage

The Wonder Pageant isn’t the Coal Mine Theatre’s (1454 Danforth Ave.) typical kind of production, and the cast jokes about this early into the show. This is hilarious improv show taking place in Toronto’s East End, and I highly recommend checking it out this holiday season.

While the company is known for its more serious theatrical productions, this evening of improv is anything but. What it does manage to be is exceedingly charming. The set is a homey little living room, and when you sink into your chair it really feels like you’re over at a friends’ holiday party. Continue reading The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre)

Review: Slava’s Snowshow (Show One Productions/Civic Theatres Toronto)

Photo of Slava’s Snowshow by Vladimir MishukovAfter 25 years on tour Russian clown Slava Polunin’s acclaimed show returns to Toronto

Winter can be a pretty depressing time in the city; tall buildings turn our roads into wind-tunnels channeling the bitter cold into our faces, the sidewalks are covered with brown slush, and the days are so short we seem to live in perpetual darkness. Even so, every year when that first snow flurry blankets everything in a fluffy, white coat, it still feels like magic. Now, if you could take that mix of emotions, bundle it together and put it on stage, you’d have something akin to Slava’s Snowshow. Continue reading Review: Slava’s Snowshow (Show One Productions/Civic Theatres Toronto)

Review: Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover (Onelight Theatre)

Shahin Sayadi brings Persian mythology to life in his play, now on stage in Toronto

Persian mythology is brought into modern day storytelling in Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover. The fully immersive multi-media work is created with boundless cloth and a single performer who takes on multiple roles at Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Created by Shahin Sayadi of Onelight Theatre, the performance explores the struggles of tradition within a small community.

In a small fishing village on the Persian Gulf, Farhad loses the love of his life to childbirth, resulting in a lifetime hatred of his son, Manoo. The son grows up and falls in love with an outcast woman, defying his father’s wishes and disgracing the family name. Believing Manoo must be under the influence of evil spirits, the village elders call for a ‘Zar’ exorcism.

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Review: Wow Factor: A Cinderella Story (Canadian Opera Company)

Canadian Opera Company presents a kid-friendly take on Cinderella, on stage in Toronto

Not everyone knows about the excellent programming the Canadian Opera Company produces for children, youth and families. This year’s iteration of Opera for Young Audiences‘ annual kid’s opera, Wow Factor, was a modernized version of Rossini’s masterpiece La Cenerentola. Based on Cinderella, one of the most beloved children’s stories of all time, the opera is a great candidate for a kid-friendly reimagining. Wow Factor is in English and set in a middle school. Continue reading Review: Wow Factor: A Cinderella Story (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: The Runner (Human Cargo)

A play by Toronto’s Human Cargo explores the Arab-Israeli conflict from a unique perspective

The Runner, produced by Human Cargo, dives into the moral and psychological weight of working for Z.A.K.A., a humanitarian group in Jerusalem in charge of gathering body parts—including those of perpetrators of violent acts—to be returned to families after disastrous events. Currently on at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, the work offers a ground-level view of the difficulty of seeing every person as human in a place where some are considered lesser than.

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